THE ROLE OF CADHERIN/CATENIN COMPLEX IN MALIGNANT MELANOMA

Bonitsis N., Batistatou A., Karantima S., Charalabopoulos K.

In the present review article the role of cadherin/catenin complex in cases of malignant melanoma is discussed in some detail. Cadherins represent the most important superfamily of adhesion molecules with epithelial E-cadherin being the most studied. Its role in normal state as well as in cancer invasion and metastasis and some other pathologies is crucial. E-cadherin expression is altered in malignant melanomas and its downregulation or absence is associated with melanoma invasion and metastasis potential. A shift from E-cadherin expression to neural N-cadherin expression in melanocytes is also detected in malignant melanomas formation. In addition, a discussion regarding the role of placental P-cadherin and vascular endothelial VE-cadherin as well as the recently identified molecule of dysadherin, is attempted in brief.

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